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Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard review

Retro styling and modern technology join forces with the Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard.

Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Shurikey Gear Hanzo is a beautiful mechanical keyboard with a striking retro aesthetic. The small size won’t be for everyone, but the level of customization, high build quality, and wonderful typing experience make it an easy recommendation for everyone else.

For

  • Looks fantastic
  • Huge customization
  • Satisfying typing experience

Against

  • Small profile won’t suit all

The Shurikey Gear Hanzo is the first product from the newly formed Shurikey - a splinter brand from mechanical keyboard specialists Varmilo

Between the shuriken-inspired brand name, and naming your first product after infamous ninja Hattori Hanzo, it's clear that Shurikey is trying to invoke a strong brand image. And to be fair, ninjas are known for their precision strikes, which is exactly what we're looking for in a mechanical keyboard. But does the Shurikey Gear Hanzo deliver on that ideal?

The short answer is yes, absolutely it does. This is a wonderful keyboard to type with, it oozes style with it's retro aesthetic, and it has a wealth of customization options that really let you make it your own.  The small size won't be for everyone, but if you prefer (or need) a smaller keyboard, the Shurikey Gear Hanzo is one of the best options out there either as a gaming keyboard or as one of the best keyboards for home offices.

Shurikey Gear Hanzo EC V2 review: Design 

  • 3 Retro styles
  • White LED backlighting
  • Customizable keys

Visually, the Shurikey Gear Hanzo is an absolute delight to behold. It comes in three distinct design options: Vintage Computer, Western Desert, and Arcade Game. Our review unit is the vintage computer model, which blends dark and light grey as the primary colors, using a vibrant yellow for the accent colors on important keys and the cables. 

The Shurikey Gear Hanzo also has backlighting - there are no color options, so you’re stuck with white backlighting, but it can be configured to work in a variety of light patterns. There is also a lighting pattern that imitates a waveform moving across the keyboard that looks pretty rad. These might be a bit distracting for some people, so you can also just have the lights permanently on or off.

Image 1 of 3

Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard

Vintage Computer (Image credit: Shurikey)
Image 2 of 3

Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard

Western Desert (Image credit: Shurikey)
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Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard

Arcade Game (Image credit: Shurikey)

As a 65% size keyboard, the Shurikey Gear Hanzo might be a bit small for some users. You only get four rows of keys, which means that there are no F keys along the top - you can still use those functions via by pressing the Fn key along with the corresponding number though, so you’re not losing out. There are two dials on the top right of the keyboard too - one of these controls the volume while the other clicks in to turn the backlighting on or off.

Along with the standard keys, you also get a set of variant keys that can be used to replace and customize your keyboard’s look - you can change the color of the spacebar and arrow keys, along with a few extra buttons. 

On top of that, there is also a dark green faceplate that can be used to change up the look of your keyboard even more (this is an IndieGoGo stretch goal and may not be included in retail purchases). The faceplate is easy to swap out - it's attached by 4 screws on the sides of the keyboard.

Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

Shurikey Gear Hanzo EC V2 review: Features

  • Choice of 4 switch types
  • Wired or wireless
  • Feels excellent to type with

The Shurikey Gear Hanzo continues it’s themes of customization past the visual tweaks that you can make. The standout thing for us is that you can choose between four different types of mechanical switch for your keys, with each type offering a different amount of resistance (actuation force, terminal force, and tactile force - you can find an explainer for these terms at DeskAuthority, but it basically comes down to how hard you need to press the keys to get them to register a keystroke).

Varmillo's EC V2 switches are a little different to most other mechanical keyboard switches, in that they are "Electrostatic Capacitive" switches, which means the key press is actually detected by an electric field rather than a mechanical impact . This gives them a much longer lifespan than other switches.

Our keyboard came with the Ivy EC switch V2 setup, which is the most resistive option available. These keys have a wonderfully chunky and tactile feel when you’re typing - it’s basically like using an old fashioned typewriter. The other options are a little softer, and it all comes down to personal preference. Varmillo did send us a test kit that lets you experience all the different switch types, but we can't see any option to buy these separately). 

Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

The Shurikey Gear Hanzo can be used either wired or wireless via Bluetooth, with support for up to three devices at once if you’re using the Bluetooth connection. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android devices. And for the gamers out there, the Shurikey Gear Hanzo also has a game mode which reduces input delay.

If you’re worried about dust collecting in between the keys, you also get a clear plastic keyboard cover which you can put over it when it’s not in use. Even though it’s see-through, it does reduce the beautiful aesthetics of your beautiful keyboard though, so we usually ended up leaving it off.

We’ve been using the Shurikey Gear Hanzo for a few weeks now and it’s an absolute dream to type on. You get such a satisfying level of feedback from the keys and it looks stunning chilling there on the desk. It’s loud though. All mechanical keyboards are loud, but it’s always worth reminding people before they buy one, because using this in a shared office space is the fastest way to get all your co-workers to hate you. This is a keyboard for your home.

Shurikey Gear Hanzo mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

Shurikey Gear Hanzo EC V2 review: Price

  • IndieGoGo launch (early price of $109)
  • Regular price of $118

The Shurikey Gear Hanzo is currently in a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo, and it has already hit it’s funding goal. The standard price works out at $118 (with an early bird price of $109 for the first 2000 backers). That’s a great price for a mechanical keyboard of this quality - for comparison, the ASUS ROG Falchion Wireless 65% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard costs around $130.

As with most crowdfunding campaigns, there are a bunch of extra stretch goals that you can unlock if you back the project, including extra custom keys and faceplates for the keyboard. The campaign has hit it’s highest stretch goal of $30,000, so there are a ton of extras unlocked already.

Should you buy the Shurikey Gear HANZO EC V2 review?

If you’re looking for a stylish and highly customizable mechanical keyboard, then the Shurikey Gear Hanzo is an absolutely fantastic choice. You get fantastic build quality and a huge amount of control over your keyboard’s design and feel - getting to choose the type of switches that you want is a big deal, and you can really tailor it to your ideal level of tactile feedback.

On top of that, they look simply stunning. The vintage computer color scheme is definitely our favorite, but both the western desert and arcade game variants look excellent too. The only real issue that people might have with the Shurikey Gear Hanzo is its small size, and the lack of RGB lighting. If you need colored lights and F keys, then look elsewhere, but for everyone else

Ian Stokes

Ian Stokes is the Tech Editor here at Top Ten Reviews. He has extensive experience in tech and games journalism, with work published on IGN, Kotaku UK, Waypoint, GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, and many more. You'll find him covering everything from smartphones and home computers to 3D printers and headphones. He's also our resident cocktail expert.